A Hybrid Bayesian Network Framework for Risk Assessment of Arsenic Exposure and Adverse Reproductive Outcomes

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2020 Apr 1:192:110270. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2020.110270. Epub 2020 Feb 6.


Arsenic contamination of drinking water affects more than 137 million people and has been linked to several adverse health effects. The traditional toxicological approach, "dose-response" graphs, are limited in their ability to unveil the relationships between potential risk factors of arsenic exposure for adverse human health outcomes, which are critically important to understanding the risk at low exposure levels of arsenic. Therefore, to provide insight on the potential interactions of different variables of the arsenic exposure network, this study characterizes the risk factors by developing a hybrid Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) model for health risk assessment. The results show that the low inorganic arsenic concentration increases the risk of low birth weight even for low gestational age scenarios. While increasing the mother's age does not increase the low birthweight risk, it affects the distribution between other categories of baby weight. For low MMA% (<4%) in the human body, increasing gestational age decreases the risk of having low birthweight. The proposed BBN model provides 82% sensitivity and 72% specificity in average for different states of birthweight.

Keywords: Arsenic exposure; Bayesian networks; Low birthweight; Maternal; Risk analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Arsenic / analysis
  • Arsenic / toxicity*
  • Bayes Theorem*
  • Birth Weight / drug effects
  • Drinking Water / standards
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Reproduction / drug effects*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Drinking Water
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Arsenic